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Senin, 20 April 2009

PRINCIPLES OF E-LEARNING AND ON-LINE TEACHING

PRINCIPLES OF E-LEARNING AND ON-LINE TEACHING

Michael W. Churton
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

ABSTRACT
Dalam 25 tahun terakhir, E-learning sudah menjadi komponen penting dalam pendidikan di semua tingkat. Penerapan e-learning memerlukan pengelolaan yang menyeluruh untuk dapat menjawab pemenuhan kebutuhan pendidikan dengan memanfaatkan sumber daya informasi dan teknologi yang dapat menunjang efektivitas program. Artikel ini membahas langkah yang diperlukan dalam transisi ke model e-learning untuk memenuhi kebutuhan program yang unik. Secara spesifk, artikel membahas prinsip e-learning serta pertimbangan pegogi dan instruksional untuk transisi menuju program e-learning. Disamping itu dibahas juga profil mahasiswa jarak jauh di Asia, proses pembelajaran, adaptasi kurikulum, interaksi dan umpan balik, serta layanan bantuan belajar yang menyangkut aspek pendaftaran, konseling, dan registrasi.

For the past 25 years, I have witnessed the phenomenal educational, technological; and the open and distance learning growth in many of the AAOU (Asian Association of Open Universities) and UNESCO countries. However, it is clear that the design, development, and acceptance of Open and Distance learning in this region has not received a similar level of recognition or merit as those programs offered through traditional campus programs. As the Asian-Pacific region continues to consider the development and/or expansion of open and distance learning, a concern for quality control and the necessary support systems to ensure programmatic integrity requires concerted attention. The over-riding premise of this article lies in the responsibility of decision makers to identify and apply appropriate curricula design, development, support, and evaluation procedures to ensure that their open and distance learning programs, especially e-learning, experience an effective transition. Poorly designed and implemented distance learning programs will create not only student and faculty concerns but political concerns as well (Churton, 2000c).

Historically, open and distance learning has meant providing access to instructional content in which learners and their instructor (s) are assisted to overcome the communication barriers of location, time, and most recently pace (Churton, 2000). At its most basic level, distance education occurs when an instructor and student(s) are separated by physical distance. Technology, including print based technology is used to bridge this instructional divide (Churton & Rejniak, 2001). Due to the development in education and the emergence of technological diversity and instructional design, the elements of communicating in real time are now a reality. Platt (2001) suggested that distance learning has transcended various chronological landmarks and transformations in nomenclature, format, style, delivery applications, and numbers served. This rapid and diverse expansion of open and distance learning has led some to question the qualitative implications of such programs and have called for standards or benchmarks to demonstrate programmatic quality and integrity (Churton,
2001). The merger to an e-learning environment underscores the concern for applying quality standards to programs and activities As the global marketplace and needs of the Asian-Pacific region promote the acceleration of open and distance educational opportunities, international linkages, overseas campuses, collaborative partnerships with multiple universities and other transnational relations, instructional quality and integrity remain keys to effectiveness and sustainability. For reasons of infrastructure, cultural diversity, educational regulations, languages, and real costs, the challenges in providing a quality and comprehensive education can be quite difficult. It is the responsibility of policy makers to identify and apply appropriate curricula design, development, support, and evaluation measures to ensure that their distance learners and their distance learning instructors experience an effective transition to a distance learning environment. Distant and e-learners should have the same level of academic integrity as students who attend campus based programs (Churton, 2000c). Asia Open Universities and those programs within the UNESCO regional service sphere need to clearly define the programmatic and financial goals by which they will consider development or expansion of distance learning opportunities, especially in the area of e-learning. Given similar needs and characteristics, the following examples provide a foundation from which to consider an appropriate delivery:

1. The workforce is widely or remotely dispersed, making it expensive in time and money for instructors to travel to the learners;

2. Some information and skills can be taught in a day or less making travel less cost effective for either the learner or the instructor;

3. Instruction using distance learning strategies can be designed to allow learners at all levels to fit the instruction into their lifestyles. Learners can read print, view video, or work on computerbased instruction and still meet their other responsibilities;

4. Instruction using distance learning strategies can be designed to allow learners to progress at their own rates; they can focus and reflect upon the information learned;

5. When the primary purpose is to provide information, a distance learning strategy can be used to provide the same information simultaneously, and on a wide-area network; and

6. Due to ever-increasing competition from other programs and countries, decisions to develop elearning programs stem from an educational, equity, and the need for cultural considerations and values. This artiicle addresses the transition to an e-learning model to meet unique and documented needs of programs. Principles of e-learning will be discussed as well as consideration for the pedagogical and instructional considerations for transitioning to an e-learning program.

THE PROCESS OF DEFINING E-LEARNING

As with any process, one must first define the parameters or the context by which the process is conceptualized. Definitions of e-learning vary- as they should depend upon the needs and requirements of the programs that are utilizing ICT to deliver instruction. The evolution of e-learning and that of rapidly expanding technology has now presented a new dimension of learning referred to as m-learning or mobile learning. Asia, as well as Africa and other continents, have looked towards the future relative to ICT and in providing basic communication services to all. Without the need to lay miles and miles of copper for telephone and voice messaging, wireless applications have replaced the infrastructure of the 20th century. While the USA and perhaps Europe are well entrenched with land based installation, continents like Asia and Africa have move rapidly and significantly into wireless communications and technology. Mobile learning is the product of this Wireless Revolution (Keegan, 2004). To a certain degree, m-learning represents the next generation of learning. Keegan (2004) suggests that m-learning includes computers, laptop computers, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants)/handhelds/palmtops, smart phones and mobile phones are included. Relationship of m-learning to e-learning (Keegan, 2004) In addition, we now have the process and product referred to as BLOGGING or web logging. A blog is an easy-to-use web site, where you can quickly post thoughts, interact with people, and more. A blog, therefore, is and has always been more than the online equivalent of a personal journal. Though consisting of regular (and often dated) updates, the blog adds to the form of the diary by incorporating the best features of hypertext: the capacity to link to new and useful resources. But a blog is also characterized by its reflection of a personal style, and this style may be reflected in either the writing or the selection of links passed along to readers. Blogs are, in their purest form, the core of what has come to be called personal publishing. However for the purpose of this paper and our objective for today is to focus specifically on e-learning.

E-learning most often means an approach to facilitate and enhance learning by means of personal
computers, CDROMs, and the Internet. This includes email, discussion forums, and collaborative
software. Advantages are seen in that just-in-time learning is possible, courses can be tailored to
specific needs and asynchronous learning is possible. E-learning may also be used to support
distance learning through the use of WANs (Wide area networks), and may also be considered to be
(wikipeia, 2005).
However, there are a variety of definitions that are used to describe how information and
communication is delivered using ICT infrastructure. It would be prudent to at least identify what
some of these definition and lease note that some are not just from the world of education, the
corporate and business sectors also design and promote distance learning. As education is becoming
more of a commodity and streamed to resemble a corporate operation, perhaps we all can learn
something from world of economics. It must be noted that it is not the intention of this paper to
recommended a clear definition of e-learning since the process of defining e-learning is dependent
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upon the unique needs and characteristics of programs and on a larger scale universities and
countries they represent. In short, e-learning descriptions will probably be similar in nature but
defined differently across the Asia-Pacific region due to unique needs of programs. A few e-learning
definitions are cited below which represent characteristics of education, industry, tourism,
government, and service programs.
• Learning that is accomplished over the Internet, a computer network, via CD-ROM, interactive
TV, or satellite broadcast (geocities, 2005).
• Self-paced, interactive training programs produced on CD or the Web that contain multimedia
elements (ie, sound, video, animations) and automated test questions that provide instant
feedback to the trainee.(Progress Information Technologies, 2005).
• The process of learning via computers over the Internet and intranets. Also referred to as Webbased
training, online learning, distributed learning, or technology for learning.(Marriott, 2005)
• Any technologically mediated learning using computers whether from a distance or in face to face
classroom setting (computer assisted learning, 2005).
• A process that facilitates education using a network (Internet, LAN or WAN) (Online Degree
Zone, 2005).
• Self-study training material that is provided electronically (typically, over the Internet)
(TechScribe, 2005).
• Covers a wide set of applications and processes such as web-based learning, computer-based
learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via
Internet, intranet/extranet, audio and videotape, satellite, and CD-ROM. However, many
organizations only consider it as a network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge.(NEIU,
2005).
• Learning that is facilitated by the use of digital tools and content. Typically, it involves some form
of interactivity, which may include online interaction between the learner and their teacher or
peers. ( Ministry of Education, Interim Tertiary e-Learning Framework 2004) .
• This term has two different meanings. It can mean a comprehensive offer of courses and "on-thejob"
e-business training modules for all levels of management for the purpose of accumulating
internal e-knowledge and promoting e-business-related networking and the exchange of knowhow.
It can also mean learning via electronic media (Siemens, 2005).
• What occurs when education and training (typically credit but also non-credit) are delivered and
supported by networks such as the Internet or intranets. Learners are able to learn any time and
any place. In this report, we use the terms "online learning" and "e-learning" interchangeably.
(EDU SPEC, 2005).
There are a variety of definitions that have and are being used to address the parameters of elearning.
Corporate, primary/secondary, schools, universities, distance learning programs both,
private and public, national and international organizations all have addressed their unique and
individualized perceptions of what and how e-learning can be utilized to effective change. The salient
point is the question of how your program will define, design, and sustain your e-learning programs to
meet the unique and individualized need of your students.
Churton, Principles of E-learning and on-line Teaching
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In its simplest form, E-learning is an instructional delivery system, which connects learners with
educational resources. The implementation of e-learning is a process, which uses available
resources and will evolve to incorporate emerging technologies. Several key features address elearning
including:
• The separation of teacher and learner during at least a majority of each instructional process;
• The use of instructional technology to unite teacher and learner and deliver course content;
• The provision of some synchronous communication between teacher, tutor, or educational
agency and learner;
• Volitional control of learning by student rather than distance instructor.
PEDAGOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR E-LEARNERS
Learner control theory and research plays a significant role in the design and delivery of appropriate
distance learning programs. We know that faculty teach and students learn using different
instructional and learning styles. Wills (1994) suggested that as a result of participating in a distance
learning program that encourages diversity; distance students can gain new knowledge and social
skills including the ability to communicate effectively and to collaborate with dispersed colleagues and
peers. Learner-centered instruction places students at the focal point of the teaching/learning process
and encourages the understanding of and appreciation for diverse educational, professional, and
personal characteristics among students (Churton, 2003). Strategies to impact learning outcomes
must be viewed through an understanding of the population that is to be served. Although these
characteristics can pertain to any group of students, it is evident that successful e-learners tend to be:
• Independent learners
• Self- motivated and driven to achieve
• Accountable for responsibilities
• Balancing multiple responsibilities
• Appreciative of time and distance
Churton (2004) suggested that to be successful in e-learning, students need to develop an
appreciation and understanding for active learning and an ability to work independently from the
instructor and/or facilitator. Student- to-student networking and student-to-teacher communications
such as email, virtual discussion board, synchronous chat sessions, telephone calls, or informal
meetings can assist in facilitating the learning process. In addition, consistent, non-intrusiveinstructor
intervention and communication with students significantly increases the completion rate of
students.
Research on technology's benefits for teaching is viewed generally as positive when shifting from a
traditional direct approach to a more learner-centered approach. Research (Dede, 1996) specifically
shows that educator’s use of technology results in:
• Increased emphasis on individualized instruction
• More time engaged by teachers advising students
• Increased interest in teaching
• Interest in experimenting with emerging technology
• Increased administrator and teacher productivity
• Increased planning and collaboration with colleagues
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• Rethinking and revision of curriculum and instructional strategies
• Greater participation in school and district restructuring efforts
• Increased teacher and administrator communication with parents
• Increased communications among teachers (OTA, 1995)
PROFILE OF THE ASIA DISTANT STUDENT
In a recent publication by Carr, Jegede, Tat-meng, & Kin-sun (1999), the authors attempted to
describe what is meant by the Asian Distance Learner. In order to design and conduct effective
distance and e-learning programs, instructors should understand the population they are serving and
include the students learning needs into their design of the course. The learning environment for elearning
students and instructors is not the same as for teaching-learning process conducted in
campus-based programs. The expectations of the program must be in line with the abilities and
capabilities of the e-learning student. Certainly, culture plays a significant role in the success of
students involved in e-learning activities. The primary role of the student is to learn. Under the best of
circumstances, this challenging task requires motivation, planning, and the ability to analyze and
apply the information being taught. Instruction must also meet these requirements.
The Asian e-learning students are not entirely unlike e-learning students in other parts of the world.
Their reasons and needs for taking a e-learning course mirror the very same criteria that Western and
European students use for enrollment in e-learning programs. Carr, Jegede, Tat-meng, & Kin-sun
(1999) suggested that the Asian distance learners are older and have jobs, and families. Students
have a variety of reasons for taking courses. Some students are interested in obtaining a degree to
qualify for a better job. Many take courses to broaden their education and are not really interested in
completing a degree.
TEACHING-LEARNING PROCESS
A primary requirement for supporting a e-learning program is to ensure that students and instructors
understand the teaching learning process as it applies to e-learning. Teaching and learning may have
never been more important or more apparent than in the current age of a knowledge-based society.
Effective pedagogy may be the greatest challenge and true future of e-learning with end-users or
students will be at the center. The e-learning student will be paramount in mediating his or her own
learning. The nature of education delivery is changing, and new technology and other related
innovations can provide promising educational opportunities for individuals who are currently not
being served, particularly for individuals without easy access to traditional campus-based education
or for whom traditional courses are a poor match with education or training needs. The change is
reflected as to how learning or communication is designed and delivered to students and the support
systems involved in ensuring program effectiveness.
The need for high-quality, nontraditional, technology-based education opportunities and needs are
increasing as is the need for skill competency credentials and other measures of educational
progress and attainment that are valid. asynchronous learning is communication that occurs when the
teaching/learning process is not dependent upon time or location. The World wide web and various
software packages have allow full course to be place on the www having students and instructors
access the content from any location and for the most part at any time. Asynchronous communication
Churton, Principles of E-learning and on-line Teaching
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may be advantageous for people who like to work at their own pace and need time to reflect and
revise such literature for the better understanding of the materials presented. Thus, the data may be
filed and stored for future use if necessary, for people to refer to on a regular basis to review the
material and or discussion to better embed the knowledge and effectiveness for learning, especially
in workplace training instances. Asynchronous communication pertains to a transmission technique
that does not require a common clock between the communicating devices. Some examples of
asynchronous communication include SMS, emails and discussion boards.
Decreasing the dependence of instruction on lecture and shifting to asynchronous techniques could
take several forms, ranging from simple and elementary to advanced and complex; these are just a
few examples:
• replacing lectures with video taped presentations, or with Internet based multimedia
presentations, thus allowing participants to view presentations multiply, at their pace, and at their
personally optimum times,
• replacing the administrative elements of class time (passing out papers, handling attendance,
addressing questions personally, . . .) with Internet based document distribution or asynchronous
bulletin board question-and-answer postings,
• replacing limited laboratory experiences with Internet based interactive multimedia environments
capturing the elements of these learning scenarios with the added convenience of Internet
transportability and speed and ease of data collection,
• implementing coordinated, credited and endorsed small group meetings for discussions that can
not be moderated well in large lecture formats,
• implementing coordinated, credited and endorsed work sessions connected with specific skill or
task outcomes, and
• implementing coordinated, credited and endorsed peer-mentoring, peer-tutoring and peercoaching
strategies are just a few of the ideas about how to convert from teacher centered
instruction to learner centered instruction.
Synchronous communication is a collaborative and interactive tool to connect students from different
localities in a virtual communicative network where it occurs or exist at the same time ‘real time’.
Some examples of synchronous communication include audio conferencing, video conferencing and
web conferencing. The benefits of Synchronous communication is that it allows students to work
across time zones and to conduct meetings without staff having to be office bound after hours and
across different disparate localities. Synchronous distance learning is interactive communication,
which allows the teaching-learning process to occur in real time regardless of distance or location
(Churton, 2000b). Synchronous distance learning programs require site base locations for students to
meet in tutorials or instruction. Due to the synchronous nature of telecommunication formats,
students can participate in real time interactions, receive immediate feedback, and participate in
group interaction which provides motivation in learning.
Traditionally, classroom teachers rely on visual and unobtrusive cues from their students to enhance
their delivery of instructional content. The attentive teacher consciously and subconsciously receives
and analyzes these visual cues and adjusts the course delivery to meet the needs of the class during
a particular lesson. In contrast, the e-learning teacher has few, if any, visual cues. Those cues that
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do exist are filtered through technological devices such through type text or images on video
monitors.
To function effectively, students must quickly become comfortable with the nature of e-learning
teaching and learning. Efforts should be made to adapt the delivery system and pedagogy to best
motivate and meet the needs of the students, in terms of both content and preferred learning styles.
Consider the following strategies for meeting students' needs:
• Assist students in becoming both familiar and comfortable with the e-learning environment and
prepare them to resolve the technical problems that will arise. Focus on joint problem solving, not
placing blame for the occasional technical difficulty.
• Make students aware of and comfortable with new patterns of communication to be used in the
course.
• Learn about students' backgrounds and experiences. Discussing the instructor's background and
interests is equally important.
• Be sensitive to different communication styles and varied cultural backgrounds. Remember, for
example, that students may have different language skills, and that humor is culturally specific
and won't be perceived the same way by all.
• Remember that students must take an active role in the e-learning delivered course by
independently taking responsibility for their learning.
CURRICULUM ADAPTATION
In developing or adapting e-learning instruction, content should remain basically unchanged, although
its presentation may require new strategies and additional preparation time. Suggestions for planning
and organizing e-learning delivered courses include:
• Begin the course planning process by studying e-learning education research findings addressing
student outcomes consistent with your instructional objectives.
• Understand the limitations and advantages of the various e-learning formats available. Select the
format that best meets the instructional needs of students academically and technologically.
• Establish protocols for class administration, either site or online based, to maintain class integrity
and for technological backups.
• If course materials are electronically sent or placed on the server, be sure hard copies are
available that can be posted for students having difficulty viewing or downloading the information.
This could be placed in the library as well.
Instructors and Course Designers:
• Realistically assess the amount of content that can be effectively delivered in the course.
Because of the logistics involved, presenting content through e-learning is usually more time
consuming than presenting the same content in a traditional classroom.
• Be aware that student participants will have different learning styles. Some will learn easily in
group settings, while others will excel when working independently.
• Diversify and pace course activities and avoid long lessons. Intersperse content presentations
with discussions and student-centered exercises.
• Humanize the course by focusing on the students, not the delivery system.
Churton, Principles of E-learning and on-line Teaching
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• Use locally relevant case studies and examples as often as possible to assist students in
understanding and applying course content. Typically, the earlier in the course this is done the
better.
• Be concise. Use short, cohesive statements and ask direct questions, realizing that technical
linkages might increase the time it takes for students to respond.
• Develop strategies for student reinforcement, review, repetition, and redemption..
• Participants will quickly grow comfortable with the process of e-learning education and the natural
rhythm of effective teaching will return.
IMPROVING INTERACTION AND FEEDBACK
Since e-learning separate teachers and students, the pedagogical implications of interaction and
academic feedback are important for effective class results. A constructivist approach to design can
assist in providing the vehicle for feedback and interaction by encouraging learners to take more
responsibility for their learning (Hiltz, Wellman, 1997). To improve interaction and feedback, consider
the following:
• Use pre-class study questions and advance organizers to encourage critical thinking and
informed participation on the part of all learners. Realize that it will take time to improve poor
communication patterns.
• Early in the course, require students to contact you and interact among themselves via electronic
mail, telephone, or post so they become comfortable with the process.
• Arrange virtual office hours using a toll-free number. Set evening office hours if most of your
students work during the day.
• Integrate a variety of delivery systems for interaction and feedback, including one-on-one and
conference calls, fax, E-mail, video, and computer conferencing. Contact each site (or student)
every week if possible, especially early in the course. Take note of students who don't participate
during the first session, and contact them individually.
• Have students keep a journal of their thoughts and ideas regarding the course content, as well as
their individual progress and other concerns. Have students submit journal entries frequently.
• Identify individual students to ensure that all participants have ample opportunity to interact. At
the same time, politely but firmly discourage individual students or sites from monopolizing class
time.
Didactic Approach: A didactic approach places the responsibility for the course directly with the
instructor. The faculty member organizes students by using emails and assigning each student to a
smaller working group. Groups are then assigned specific responsibilities, assignments, and
presentations or work sessions. Considerations should be given to inter-collaborative associations
within groups providing alternative group assignments or pairings if necessary. The advantage of the
pre-course arrangements establishes a structure prior to the start of class thus saving time and
providing an initial management system.
Constructivist Approach: Students with some "guidance" can design their own communication
network based on common interests or assignments. The constructivist approach provides students
the opportunity to contribute to their own academic development by building relationships across
common interests and educational goals (Hiltz, 1997). Faculty should be cognizant however; that
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sufficient time is required for this communication network to develop once the class has started.
Faculty members should also be part of the network and have entry capabilities to the network to
participate in a facilitative or resource roll.
E-learning programs organize learning activities around demonstrable learning outcomes, assist the
learner to achieve these outcomes, and assess learner progress by reference to these outcomes.
1. Intended e-learning outcomes are described in observable, measurable, and achievable terms.
2. The e-learning design is consistent with and shaped to achieve the intended e-learning
outcomes.
3. Instructional technology and delivery systems are used in a way that facilitates the achievement
of intended e-learning outcomes.
4. E-learning outcomes are assessed in a way relevant to the content, the learner’s situation, and
the distance education delivery system.
5. Assessment of e-learning is timely, appropriate, and responsive to the needs of the learner.
6. When possible, individual learners help shape the e-learning outcomes and how they are
achieved.
A variety of teaching and learning styles are associated with the delivery of postsecondary education.
Consideration should be made relative to the content of the materials, learning needs of the students,
instructor’s teaching style, and the limitations of the technology if used.
Teacher Centered, Learner Centered and Autonomous Learning: A central theme to many university
programs suggests that learners should assume more responsibility for their own learning. Especially
with nontraditional students, learning styles suggest more input as to when, what, how and where
learning is to occur (Churton, 2004). Some students, however, are less confident in self-directed
learning and may be limited in their independent learning skills. For these students, a more direct
instructional approach addressing independent learning skills would seem appropriate. The more
experienced learners may perform better in learner-centered programs.
Active and Interactive Learning: Effective instructional practices suggest that learners should take an
active part in their learning rather than passively receiving information (Wills, 1994). This may take
the form of participation in proactive experiments, simulations, role-playing, small group interactions,
group problem solving or a host of other activities. When the learner is learning in isolation or nongroup
settings, resources and assignments should be structured so as to demand interactivity from
the learner with other students and the instructor. Technology can be of assistance in addressing the
inter-connectivity among students.
Preferred Sensory Channels: Learners, as well as their instructors, have preferences for e-learning
such as viewing, listening, or completing an activity. In a e-learning environment, providing a
combination of demonstration, description, and presentation assists in addressing different learning
styles. From an instructional point of view, it is desirable to provide a range of learning methodologies
to address diverse abilities.
Place Dependent-Independent Learning: Place independent e-learning occurs when the learner can
use learning materials or technology wherever he or she may be rather than having to attend a
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particular place. Classroom teaching is place dependent. Some forms of e-learning may be place
dependent such as a particular site or location where the technology is located but provides
convenience for students to attend. Other formats such as on-line www courses are place or site
independent.
Time Dependent-Independent Learning: Similarly, time independent means that learners can choose
the time when they learn. Time dependence means that time is predetermined or fixed. Any method
where instant interaction with other people is required will be time dependent. For example,
classroom groups, videoconferencing, audio conferencing and synchronous aspects of on-line
instruction all require students and or instructor to be at the same place at the same time. Many
facets of the Internet and methods such as tutorials are also time dependent. Although students are
successful during the e-e-learning experience, there does seem to exist an attitude among distant
students that they are truly not part of the on- campus class. Students can view themselves as
disadvantaged because of their proximity to the instructor and lacking the resources available to other
students (Odin, 1997). As instructors, we can help to eliminate these attitudinal differences by using
strategies to assist students in overcoming these barriers and ensuring that resources are available
to all students including:
Student outcomes: The effectiveness of technology tends to vary as a function of the curriculum
content and instructional strategy delivered by the technology. When content and strategies are
determined to meet accepted education standards, research documents that technology can be a
benefit.
• Increases performance when interactivity is prominent
• Increases opportunities for interactivity with instructional programs
• Is more effective with multiple technologies (video, computer, telecommunications etc.)
• Improves attitude and confidence especially for 'at risk' students
• Provides instructional opportunities otherwise not available
• Can increase opportunities for student-constructed learning
• Increases student collaboration on projects
• Increases mastery of vocational and work force skills
• Significantly improves student problem solving skills
• Improves writing skills and attitudes about writing for urban LEP students
• Improves writing skills as a result of using telecommunications
• Increases the preparation of students for most careers and vocations
E-learning activities are designed to fit the specific context for learning the nature of the subject
matter, intended learning outcomes, needs and goals of the learner, the learner’s environment, and
the instructional technologies and methods.
1. E-learning opportunities include a clear statement of intended learning outcomes, learning
content that is appropriate to these outcomes, clear expectations of learner activities, flexible
opportunities for interaction, and assessment methods appropriate to the activities and
technologies.
2. Elements of a e-learning event—the learning content, instructional methods, technologies, and
context—complement each other.
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3. The selection and application of technologies for a specific learning opportunity are appropriate
for the intended learning outcomes, subject matter content, relevant characteristics and
circumstances of the learner, and cost range.
4. E-learning activities and modes of assessment are responsive to the learning needs of individual
learners.
5. The e-learning experience is organized to increase learner control over the time, place, and pace
of instruction.
6. E-learning outcomes address both content mastery and increased e-learning skills.
7. Individuals with specialized skills in content, instructional methods, or technology work
collaboratively as a design team to create e-learning opportunities.
8. The e-learning design is regularly evaluated for effectiveness, with findings used as a basis for
improvement (Dede, 1996).
DIRECT SUPPORT SERVICES
Successful e-learning opportunities have clear lines of support and accountability. Regardless of the
service delivery option, students and faculty require effective support strategies to ensure successful
programmatic outcomes. WICHE (2000) & Dede (1996) offer the following recommendations in
providing support for e-learning programs.
1. The program has a learner support system to assist the learner in effectively using the resources
provided. This system includes technology and technical support, site facilitation, library and
information services, advising, counseling, and problem-solving assistance.
2. The program considers the needs for learner support in relation to the e-learning mode(s) used
and makes provision for delivery of appropriate resources based on the design of the learning
activities, the technology involved, and the needs of the learner.
3. Access to support services—such as scheduling, registration, and recordkeeping is convenient,
efficient, and responsive to diverse learners as well as consistent with other elements of the
delivery system.
4. Support systems are accessible to and usable by the learners and are sufficiently flexible to
accommodate different learning styles.
5. The program discloses to the learner all information pertinent to the learning opportunity such as
course prerequisites, modes of study, evaluation criteria, and technical needs and provides some
form of orientation for those desiring it.
6. Support systems for each learning opportunity are reviewed regularly to ensure their currency
and effectiveness.
The program has a plan and infrastructure for using correspondence courses and technology that
supports its e-learning goals and activities.
1. The plan defines the technical requirements and compatibility needed to support the e-learning
activity.
2. The plan addresses system security to ensure the integrity and validity of information shared in
the e-learning activities.
3. The e-learning format facilitates interactivity among all elements of a learning environment and
places a high value on ease of use by learners.
4. The technology, including print, selected for e-learning is fully accessible and understandable to
learners and has the power necessary to support its intended use.
Churton, Principles of E-learning and on-line Teaching
27
5. Programs communicate the purpose of the technologies used for e-learning and, through
training, assist learners, faculty, and staff to understand its etiquette, acquire the knowledge and
skills to manipulate and interact with it, and understand the objectives and outcomes that the
technologies are intended to support.
6. The technology infrastructure meets the needs of both learners and e-learning facilitators for
presenting information, interacting within the e-learning community, and gaining access to elearning
resources.
COMPREHENSIVE SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Effective e-e-learning programs rely on a system of consistent and integrated efforts of
faculty/instructors, students, facilitators, and support staff. An organizational system for e-e-learning
is dependent upon a variety of individuals to ensure effective programmatic outcomes including:
Students - Meeting the instructional needs of students is the cornerstone of every effective distance
education program. Regardless of the educational context, the primary role of the student is to learn.
When instruction is delivered at a distance, students are often separated from others sharing their
backgrounds and interests, have few if any opportunities to interact with teachers outside of class,
and must rely on technical linkages to bridge the gap separating class participants. A system to
organize and serve should include:
A. Enrollment and advisement services
B. Counseling and career services
C. Registration and other support services
Lecturers and Professors - The success of any distance education effort is dependent upon lecturers.
In a traditional classroom setting, the instructor's responsibility includes designing course content and
developing an understanding of student needs. Special challenges confront those teaching at a
distance. For example, the instructor must:
• Develop an understanding of the characteristics and needs of distant students with little first-hand
experience and limited, if any, face-to-face contact.
• Adapt teaching styles taking into consideration the needs and expectations of multiple, often
diverse, audiences.
• Develop a working understanding of delivery technology, while remaining focused on their
teaching role.
• Function effectively as a skilled facilitator as well as content program.
Faculty members reported that sound theoretical basis; experience and practice with the particular
curriculum, instruction being adopted/adapted, and a technical support system designed specifically
to their needs was useful in their development. Comprehensive faculty development activities were
viewed as critical for instructors to understand the pedagogical implications of teaching courses at a
distance and the technological implications involved relative to limitations and advantages.
• Local resource personnel provide direct follow-up assistance
• Peer observation and discussion provide teachers with reinforcement and encouragement
• Administrators participate in staff development
• Regular meetings held with teachers for problem solving and adapting techniques and skills of
the innovation
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28
• Released time used for teacher staff development
• Staff development planned with teachers prior to and during the project
Facilitators - The instructor often finds it beneficial to rely on a site facilitator to act as a bridge
between the students and the instructor. To be effective, a facilitator must understand the students
being served and the instructor's expectations. Most importantly, the facilitator must be willing to
follow the directive established by the teacher. Where budget and logistics permit, the role of on-site
facilitators has increased even in classes in which they have little, if any, content expertise. At a
minimum, they set up equipment, collect assignments, proctor tests, and act as the instructor's onsite
liaison. In asynchronous formats, facilitators can assist instructors in threaded discussion
organization and in managing email messages.
Support Staff - Most successful e-learning programs consolidate support service functions to include
student registration, materials duplication and distribution, textbook ordering, securing of copyright
clearances, facilities scheduling, processing grade reports, managing technical resources, etc.
Administrators - Although administrators are typically influential in planning an institution's distance
education program, they often lose contact or transfer control to technical managers once the
program is operational. Effective distance education administrators are more than idea people. They
are consensus builders, decision-makers, and referees. They work closely with technical and support
service personnel, ensuring that technological resources are effectively deployed to further the
institution's academic mission. Most importantly, they maintain an academic focus, realizing that
meeting the instructional needs of distant students is their ultimate objective.
Davidson, Vogel, Harris & Jones (1999) suggest a grassroots change in viewing the adoption of
informational technologies as leverage to address community and national interests. The availability
of cost-effective microcomputers, local and wide-area networks, and advancements in
telecommunication, especially digital applications, have made the consideration of e-e-learning and
the associated technologies more conducive to meet ever increasing human and business needs. In
the wake of liberalization, economic management of education has become a prime consideration for
countries transitioning to a e-e-learning format. Even though the new focus of attention is on ecommerce
activities, the development of an educational social infrastructure is important
consideration. The question remains however is which technology and which format will be used and
how a model of e-e-learning might be designed to meet the unique need of each country,
respectively.
SUMMARY
The administration and management of e-learning has rapidly become an important component in
addressing education at all levels. An ever-increasing number of academic programs are developing
e-learning courses and programs, while those already involved are expanding their activities. While
these opportunities are welcome developments, new and untried delivery systems test conventional
assumptions, raising questions as to the essential nature and content of an educational experience
and the resources required to support IT and e-learning (Wiche, 2001). In transitioning to e-learning
environment, programs should consider the following:
Churton, Principles of E-learning and on-line Teaching
29
• That education is best experienced within a community of learning where competent
professionals are actively and cooperatively involved with creating, providing, and improving the
instructional program;
• That e-learning should be dynamic and interactive, regardless of the setting in which it occurs;
• That instructional programs leading to degrees are organized around substantive and coherent
curricula which define expected e-learning outcomes;
• That institutions accept the obligation to address student needs and to provide the resources
necessary for, their academic success;
• That institutions are responsible for the education provided in their name;
• That institutions undertake the assessment and improvement of their quality, giving particular
emphasis to student learning and faculty development;
• That institutions voluntarily subject themselves to external oversight.
To ensure a standard of quality, which will reinforce the intent of the e-learning programs and the
quality of instruction that students receive, programs must incorporate standards, which are
evaluative through a formative and summative format. Access and inclusion should be the principle
values encouraging the use of new technologies to deliver or enhance instruction. The pursuit of
technology, for the sake of technology itself, can become a deterrent for developing human and fiscal
resources and can impede the mission of institutions and their capacity to meet the needs of all
students.
Guidelines for Considering e-Learning: Although the following guidelines were developed across all
parameters of e-learning, I believe they can serve as a foundation for the design and development of
appropriate e-learning programs as well. They have been modified from the WICHE (2001) to more
closely align with the scope and mission of Open Universities in Asia.
1.0: E-learning programs organize learning activities around and assess learner progress by
reference to these outcomes.
• When possible, individual learners help shape the learning outcomes and how they are achieved.
• Intended learning outcomes are described in observable, measurable, and achievable terms.
• The learning design is consistent with and shaped to achieve the intended learning outcomes.
• E-learning media and delivery systems are used in a way that facilitates the achievement of
intended learning outcomes.
• Learning outcomes are assessed in a way relevant to the content, the learner’s situation, and the
e-learning delivery system.
• Assessment of learning is timely, appropriate, and responsive to the needs of the learner.
• Intended learning outcomes are reviewed regularly to ensure their clarity, utility, and
appropriateness for the learners.
2.0: E-learning initiatives must be backed by an organizational commitment to quality and
effectiveness in all aspects of the learning environment.
• Involvement in e-learning is consistent with the overall mission of the PROGRAM; policies
regarding e-learning are integrated into the program’s overall policy framework.
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30
• The PROGRAM makes a financial and administrative commitment to maintain e-learning
programs through completion and to support faculty and learner services needed to ensure an
effective learning environment.
• Administrative and support systems (registration, advising, assessment, etc.) are compatible with
the learning delivery system to ensure a coherent learning environment.
• The PROGRAM organization’s curricular and administrative policies incorporate the needs of elearning
as well as traditional learning activities.
• The PROGRAM makes a commitment to research and development of e-learning, maintaining a
systematic evaluation of the content, processes, and support systems involved in its e-learning
activities.
• The PROGRAM makes a concomitant investment of resources and effort in professional
development and support of both faculty and staff involved in e-learning.
• The PROGRAM organization recognizes effective participation in e-learning through its
promotion and reward system for faculty and staff and ensures that its policies regarding
promotion, tenure (if applicable), and departmental/program funding reflect the integration of elearning
into the organization’s mission.
• The policies, management practices, learning design processes, and operational procedures for
e-learning are regularly evaluated to ensure effectiveness and currency.
• The PROGRAM does not distinguish between learning accomplished through e-learning
accomplished through other means in recognizing learner achievement.
3.0: E-learning opportunities are effectively supported for learners through fully accessible modes of
delivery and resources.
• The PROGRAM has a learner support system to assist the learner in effectively using the
resources provided. This system includes technology and technical support, site facilitation,
library and information services, advising, counseling, and problem-solving assistance.
• The PROGRAM considers the needs for learner support in relation to the e-learning mode(s)
used and makes provision for delivery of appropriate resources based on the design of the
learning activities, the technology involved, and the needs of the learner.
• Access to support services - such as scheduling, registration, and recordkeeping - is convenient,
efficient, and responsive to diverse learners as well as consistent with other elements of the
delivery system.
• Support systems are accessible to and usable by the learners and are sufficiently flexible to
accommodate different learning styles.
• The PROGRAM discloses to the learner all information pertinent to the learning opportunity—
such as course prerequisites, modes of study, evaluation criteria, and technical needs—and
provides some form of orientation for those desiring it.
• Support systems for each learning opportunity are reviewed regularly to ensure their currency
and effectiveness.
4.0: E-learning activities are designed to fit the specific context for learning the nature of the subject
matter, intended learning outcomes, needs and goals of the learner, the learner’s environment, and
the instructional technologies and methods.
Churton, Principles of E-learning and on-line Teaching
31
• Learning opportunities include a clear statement of intended learning outcomes, learning content
that is appropriate to these outcomes, clear expectations of learner activities, flexible
opportunities for interaction, and assessment methods appropriate to the activities and
technologies.
• Elements of a learning event—the learning content, instructional methods, technologies, and
context—complement each other.
• The selection and application of technologies for a specific learning opportunity are appropriate
for the intended learning outcomes, subject matter content, relevant characteristics and
circumstances of the learner, and cost range.
• Learning activities and modes of assessment are responsive to the learning needs of individual
learners.
• The learning experience is organized to increase learner control over the time, place, and pace of
instruction.
• Learning outcomes address both content mastery and increased learning skills.
• Individuals with specialized skills in content, instructional methods, or technology work
collaboratively as a design team to create learning opportunities.
• The learning design is regularly evaluated for effectiveness, with findings used as a basis for
improvement.
5.0: The PROGRAM has a plan and infrastructure for using technology that supports its learning
goals and activities.
• The technology plan defines the technical requirements and compatibility needed to support the
learning activity.
• The technology plan addresses system security to ensure the integrity and validity of information
shared in the learning activities.
• The technology facilitates interactivity among all elements of a learning environment and places a
high value on ease of use by learners.
• The technology selected for e-learning is fully accessible and understandable to learners and has
the power necessary to support its intended use.
• Programs communicate the purpose of the technologies used for learning and, through training,
assist learners, faculty, and staff to understand its etiquette, acquire the knowledge and skills to
manipulate and interact with it, and understand the objectives and outcomes that the
technologies are intended to support.
• The technology infrastructure meets the needs of both learners and learning facilitators for
presenting information, interacting within the learning community, and gaining access to learning
resources.
• (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (2001).
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